Wills for New Families

Having a child is a major legal decision.

Most churches are great at helping new parents with new baby stuff: food for mom & dad, baby showers with gifts, support for mom (and dad) in the first few months, etc. Churches need to add a legal issue to this checklist – providing a resource for a will. There are a host of legal matters to decide when a child arrives. If both parents die, how is the estate divided, who is the custodian of the child(ren), should there be a trust, etc.

Almost half of all people do not have a will of any form. When they die, a judge will divide the estate among a prescribed list of family members. None of the money will go to friends or organizations they loved in their lifetime. When young parents die, the state will use all of the family’s funds to care for the children and will place the children with the family the judge feels is best.

Rather than leave it to a judge, young families should make those (uncomfortable) decisions themselves. Their church should have an attorney who will work with the couple before the baby arrives and draft a simple will. That will give the new parents a lot of peace of mind and the grandparents will greatly appreciate having that issue dealt with. Most young people have no idea where to go to get a will.

A church can cover the entire cost of a simple will (about $400 to $500), can cost-share with the young couple (or the grandparents), or have the couple cover that cost entirely. I can assure you that if grandparents are financially able, they’ll help with this cost and they’ll be exceedingly grateful to the church for helping with this. The important thing is to ensure that young families are addressing this issue and not ignoring it. This is an important legal matter and the church should help.

Lead On!


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